celestial body

noun

variants or less commonly celestial object
plural celestial bodies also celestial objects
: an aggregation of matter in the universe (such as a planet, star, or nebula) that can be considered as a single unit (as for astronomical study)
But many scientists began seriously rethinking their notions of the solar system in 1992, when we identified a small celestial body—just a few hundred kilometers across—sited farther from the sun than any of the known planets.Jane X. Luu et al.
As the observer looks at a star or other celestial body its light rays pass through a single point on the earth's surface.Dutton's Navigation and Piloting, 14th edition
A black hole forms when a star or other celestial object collapses under the pull of its own gravity.Mary Durack Miller

called also heavenly body

Examples of celestial body in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Odysseus, a lunar lander created by a private American company, is in the moon’s orbit and is slated to land on the celestial body’s surface Thursday afternoon. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, 22 Feb. 2024 Mission to Psyche will give insights into possible mining on distant worlds, origin of Earth’s core An unprecedented mission to a metal-rich asteroid launched on Friday—paving the way for companies to, one day, mine similar celestial bodies for ore. Aylin Woodward, WSJ, 13 Oct. 2023 Among other things, the accords are a statement of values about such things as the importance of sharing scientific data; preserving historically significant human and robotic landing sites; and upholding the Outer Space Treaty, which endorses the peaceful use of celestial bodies. David W. Brown, The New Yorker, 4 Mar. 2024 At night, the dark sky above the bay shines with thousands of celestial bodies, and the Big Dipper, also known as the Great Bear constellation, loiters in the northern sky, right above the majestic cathedral. Danuta Hamlin, Fox News, 18 Feb. 2024 Astrobotic had been angling to become the first commercial company in history to softly land a spacecraft on another celestial body. Michael Greshko, Scientific American, 9 Jan. 2024 Stargazers can enhance their experience by using stargazing apps or charts to precisely locate and identify the celestial bodies. The Arizona Republic, 8 Jan. 2024 Russia hasn't had a successful mission to another celestial body since the Soviet era in the 1980s. Stephen Clark, Ars Technica, 31 Aug. 2023 The shortest month of every year has a few solid opportunities for looking up at the night sky and catching unique celestial bodies. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 1 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'celestial body.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1538, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of celestial body was in 1538

Dictionary Entries Near celestial body

Cite this Entry

“Celestial body.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celestial%20body. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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